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How SMART Objectives Relate to Objectives Management

Unless you start with good objectives, it won’t matter how good your Objectives Management System.

The concept of SMART objectives has been around for a while but some aspects are starting to be questioned. (Forbes article relates)

There are 2 things under scrutiny:

  1. Realistic? One aspect of SMART that is beginning to be questioned is the idea of setting Realistic objectives or goals.

    It is now being realised that Realistic tends to lead to people not stretching themselves and not increasing their creativity.

    A better approach is what we call “reaching for the stars but being content with landing on the moon”.

  2. Too Many Criteria. To apply SMART literally means to test each of your objectives against all 5 criteria (of S, M, A, R and T) – fine in theory but too time consuming for most to bother.

The MAT Test

We propose a different test – which you might call MAT:

  • Measurable – at the appropriate time in the future, would an independent auditor be able to measure whether you had achieved your goals. (In our experience most Objectives that are measurable are also Specific).
  • Aligned – are your objectives aligned with the whole business and your team (if applicable)
  • Timebound – is it clear as to when your desired objective needs to be achieved?

Having said the above, the concept of “SMART” is so well known that we have continued to refer to it here. But when you see us say “SMART” keep in mind the idea of “MAT” – Measurable, Aligned and Timebound.

More on Timebound

There are really 3 types of ways in which Objectives can be Timebound.

You can test whether your objectives are timebound by seeing if they meet one or more of the following:

  1. Specific time/date — “By [time/date]…..
  2. Recurring with — “Every..[Friday, end of month, 4th of month, end of quarter]
  3. Linked to another time — “Within [x days/weeks/months] of [something else]…..

Below are all links to other pages

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